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2013 survey assessments and analysis of fish, macroinvertebrates and herpetofauna in the Otter Creek coal tracts area of Powder River County

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2013 survey assessments and analysis of fish, macroinvertebrates and herpetofauna in the Otter Creek coal tracts area of Powder River County


Published 2014
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Cover title

"January 2014"

Includes bibliographical references (pages 30-32)

Introduction -- Methods -- Results -- Conclusions -- Site Photos -- Literature Cited -- Appendix A. Fish data and IBI metric calculations collected from Otter Creek Project Sites -- Appendix B. Macroinvertebrate taxa list, abundance, and metrics for the 13 collection sites -- Appendix C. Stream Habitat and Water Quality Parameters measured for Otter Creek Sites

We summarize the third year of baseline surveys for aquatic communities and herpetofauna in the Otter Creek coal tracts area. Project goals remain the same: 1) to continue standardized surveys and collecting baseline information on the aquatic communities prior to coal development, 2) to seasonally assess aquatic community integrity and condition with key indicators recorded on-site and comparing these against biotic thresholds of reference condition standards and testing treatment differences. These 2013 aquatic community data represent the third year of pre-coal development (i.e. pre-impact BACI, Before After Control Impact design) conditions at the local reach scale. Otter Creek mainstem reaches within the area proposed for the future mine site (i.e.Impact Zone sites) continue to show higher impairment levels in biological integrity than the Control or Downstream reaches. Spatial and temporal patterns of aquatic community composition and biotic integrity were similar between the 2013 and 2012 surveys, with a notable increase in the percentage of non-native fish occurring across most sites, especially in the fall. Biotic integrity of the Otter Creek upstream control reach remains higher than impact or downstream reaches (based on fish), but has decreased since 2011. Macroinvertebrates show no discernible pattern of integrity spatially, but temporally are reporting higher integrity scores during the spring samples. Fish communities have reassembled themselves since the high water of 2011 with the addition of the golden shiner to three sites in 2012, but they were only reported at one site in 2013. The high density and biomass of fish captured below Truslers Ranch road crossing, 20,000 fish per 300 m in fall 2011, has dispersed to other sections and now averages 1,900 fish per 300 m, but still has a high percentage of fish anomalies (lesions and parasites- yellow grub and anchorworm). Fish anomaly scores are significantly higher at the Impact Zone sites than reported at the other reaches


Year 2014
Pages 51
Language English
Book contributor Montana State Library
Contributor usage rights See terms
Collection MontanaStateLibrary

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